Bratislava, Slovakia and Fukas apartments, avoid at all costs!

We all know that the unhappiness of a client toward a certain service spread a lot more quickly that the praises of a satisfied one, which is normal in a way. When you pay for something, it seems appropriate when at the end you benefit from all that you have been promised for your money and your expectations have been fulfilled, afterall, you paid for it! On the other hand when what you see is NOT what you get, then it’s only right to be angry. I know this all too well, working with people for the past 10 years, 5 of those being dedicated to my dear project Comanda Caricaturi.

In October 2014 i was in a mini „eurotrip” with my wife, i drove from my home city of Cluj-Napoca with a few days stops in Budapest, Prague and for the return trip, we had planned to also stay a day in Bratislava. The bookings were all done on booking.com, where we selected from the range of offers only those that had wifi, parking and breakfast and then we took the decision based on the price and the emplacement. For Budapest and Prague we’ve been really inspired, but the same cannot be said about Bratislava and Fukas Apartments…

So, we arrived in Bratislava an hour earlier than the time specified on the website for the checkin (14:00) and i called the contact person, Jana Antalova, and i asked her where i can safely park the car (from the reviews i have read on the net, i got it that the slovak police are similar to ours, and that they have a hobby for finning tourists, or you can find yourself with a towed car, something i didn’t want to expperience). In a very broken english, she told me that she can arrive only around 15:00 and that i can find parking somewhere in the „Opera” area, but that i will need to take a taxi back to the apartment on Lermontova, or just walk for 20 minutes! I told her that this is not acceptable and that this weren’t the informations that i read on the site, and if i was lied to, i would ask a refund and look for accomodation elsewhere. I heard her talking to someone in slovakian, and then she replied she can come at 14:00, and that indeed i can park at the suit.

Ok… I used the time until her arrival to explore the surroundings, looking for a parking space, free or paid (i didn’t care) as i was informed i would find some in a previous email received from Fukas Apartments:

fukas

So, even if the slovaks from Fukas admited they don’t own a parking at the property, they said that in the area you can find both public and paid parking (until 16:00), and i took this for granted. There i found out that the problem wasn’t that this places were occupied, but they DIDN’T EXIST, the only parking spots there being reserved for residents only. A few streets away, i only saw what appeared to be 2 public parking places, and ofcourse they were taken. There was not even 1 paid parking in the area!

When Jana arrived, she apperead to be very distracted, and being faced with my discovery, she started making out excuses in the old fashioned ROMANIAN way: „I am only delegate, me not manager, manager write on site, not me, me not!” This is exactly what some salespersons do in my country, being paid minimum wage, they tell you straight to the face, while chewing some seeds: „Boss knows, i don’t know, not my problem, i don’t care!” I walked again with the woman on the nearby streets, and everytime she saw an unnocupied parking spot, she pointed it to me: „Maybe you park here?” „No, maybe i don’t park here, it’s alseo RESERVED! Can’t you read sign above?” „Ah, sorry, sorry, me only delegate, me not know about parking, me not driver to know!” And the she was laughing all by herself…

Finally, being tired and hungry i said ok, let’s go checkin and i will look for a solution afterwards. Truth is the apartment looked really ok, but by „breakfast included”, our slovak buddies meant u have some little snacks in the fridge, that you can prepare at the microvawe… This asside, i started looking in the inner courtyard and i saw a passageway leading there, where i could park a car with no problems, without blocking anyone. I wondered why the Fukas employee didn’t mention this solution, but hey, i couldn’t suspect her of too much competence either. I opened the acces doors and i prepared to drive my Skoda in, when i see an old man gesturing at my wife Mirela, who was out of the car to direct me in. I go to see what the problem is, but all i get is yelling in slovak and more gesturing. I tried in English, French, Mirela in Spanish, but one thing was certain, even if he didn’t know any other language except his native one, his point was clear: there was no parking in his teritory! He closed the doors and then started working on the locks. I later found out that the old geezer said something about „romansky” after he looked at my car number plate, and i was glad i didn’t catch that on spot, as i was already at the limit of my patience. If only they have had a minimum of initiative, Fukas & Co would have worked this out, negociating with the residents and with the crazy old man for a parking solution for their clients, especially since the stays were short and not all their clients came with a car…

This being said, i called Jana again and i asked to speak directly with the manager, to sort things out. She told me that the manager is… busy, and at that i replied that i want to go and to get my money back and she should come to get the key. This part she understood, and this time she didn’t took that long to get back. Now, her biggest concern wasn’t that they had outright lied to their customers, and now the poor bastards were upset, but that there will be problems with booking.com, as she kept asking me to cancel the reservation i had made on the site. Most probably they wanted to avoid image issues, that would scare away other potential tourists they would have tricked. Even if i wanted to, that type of reservation couldn’t be canceled, and certainly it wasn’t my intention to help out this slovaks with a romanian hearth. I asked again to speak with the manager, only to find out this time that „he didn’t speak english” (not that Antalova did it any better), not the „he is busy” line. Who knows, maybe Jana got tangled in her excuses yet again…

Being fed up with their lies and incompetence i decided to leave Bratislava all togher, instead of searching for another accomodation in that communist city. I stoped in Budapest, where, no matter what it’s said, people know how to treat their guests. I admit, it’s possible that my experience is an isolated event, that the slovaks are in fact welcoming hosts, and that Fukas itself treats it’s clients well, but, in the same way that foreigners are fed up with the gipsies, criminals and beggars from Romania, and they don’t really take the time to think that not all of us are like that, i won’t do it either, and i will avoid this destination in the future…

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